Back when I first started my travel blog, a fellow traveler reached out to me to conduct an interview. The website has since shut down, but I wanted to repost the interview here. I've redone my site, so maybe it's time to reintroduce myself!
Hello, fellow travelers! My name is Caitlin (or Cait, to my friends) and I am originally from the northeast United States. Since I graduated from college, I have migrated south to sunny Orlando, Florida—home of the most magical place on earth. I am 31 years old (oh my gosh, when did that happen!?) and have held about a dozen jobs since I graduated—waitress, bus driver, book publicist, costume manager, and official Disney ambassador, to name a few. My husband and I own a home with views of the Magic Kingdom fireworks and a great network of friends. We love our lives in Florida, but this year we will be moving abroad to live in China. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I do know that I will embrace the adventure in every day.
Why do you choose to travel?
Quite honestly, travel isn’t a choice for me--it is a part of who I am. That might sound cheesy, but I have an incessant need to keep moving and see new places and I think we must soak up as much of the world as we can in the time we are given. While this desire always burned inside me, it wasn’t until I lost my father that I realized how much life there is to live and how tenuous is our time to live it. Travel has opened my eyes and my mind; it has helped me see people better and understand them more, not to mention capture some spectacular photos! This world is such a beautiful place filled with amazing people and I can’t possibly live life knowing there is so much out there I haven’t yet discovered.
How do you travel?
As a photographer and writer, I prefer travel to be a personal and unique experience. Therefore, I prefer self-guided travel—especially since I like to stop frequently to get the perfect shot, or sometimes sit and gaze in awe at a waterfall for an hour. Road trips are my favorite because they offer the most freedom and they usually cost less (since I am not independently wealthy, budget travel is my MO!). My travel partner is my amazing (and patient) husband, who I call a “reluctant traveler”. We have very different travel styles—he is a leisure vacationer whereas I would travel full-time and live out of a van, if I could. We are still learning how to travel together and how to plan trips that accommodate both of our needs—which will probably fuel a lot of “his & hers” style posts on our blog.
Tell us about a time travel went wrong
The more you travel, the greater the chances are that something will go awry. That is what necessitates the need for flexibility and patience while on the road. However, I feel like we have been fairly fortunate in our travel experiences.
As much as I would like to consider myself a spontaneous person, I am a pretty diligent planner and I do a lot of research and itinerary planning before embarking on a new trip. And yet, during our recent trip to Patagonia, I failed to adequately plan and it led to some problems. First of all, please heed my advice if you are going to visit the bottom of the world—BRING ENOUGH CASH.
I must have read this warning a hundred times during my scanty pre-adventure planning. And yet, I still only took out about $200 in Chilean pesos (there’s the budget traveler in me coming out). So after paying for gas and park fees at Torres del Paine National Park, we were pretty much wiped out of money.
Because of that, we weren’t able to take the ferry into the middle of the park, and later, we weren’t able to eat dinner because the restaurants only took cash and all of the ATMs in town had run out of money! I thought it was pretty funny, my hungry husband did not see the humor, and my mom now has further reason to worry about me as I traipse about the globe.
What are your travel essentials?
I can travel with very little, but the few things I never leave home without are baby wipes (they have come in handy in a NUMBER of situations), my camera gear, outlet adapters, stomach medicine, my travel journal, and of course, my sense of adventure.
What is one moment that stands out to you from your travels?
Sometimes I feel like memories exist as little snapshots of time. The details of the events themselves might get fuzzy, but sometimes there is that one incredible moment that blazes with a clarity that you know you will never forget. Preserving memories has always been important to me. Maybe that’s why I have turned to writing and photography? In any case, there are many of these life-altering snapshots that I will carry with me forever, but one in particular stands out.
My husband and I celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary (woot woot!) with a trip to Africa (which has been a lifelong dream of mine). The trip in its entirety was amazing (I mean, as we were sitting around the campfire one night, our guide heard a sound (inaudible to the rest of us) and shined his flashlight on a parade of elephants—elephants!—passing silently through our camp. It doesn’t get much more incredible than that).
But what will always stand out to me was the immensity of the stars. Each night, my husband and I would come out from our tent and gaze up at millions of points of light blazing across the clear swoosh of the Milky Way. We had never seen so many stars in our lives. I felt so small—and so in awe of our beautiful existence. I know I’m getting all existential here, but if you have ever gazed at a wonder of nature, I know you know the feeling. We both stood there transfixed…and then I think we started talking about time travel and aliens and some other crazy stuff, but you get the idea.
What cameras do you use?
I don’t have nearly as much camera gear and gadgets as I would like, but through some side photography gigs, I have been able to make enough money to fund my photography habit. First of all, I do not have a smart phone (I know, it’s crazy), so I have always had a trusty point and shoot camera for those times a big DSLR just won’t do (aka ziplining, rapelling, etc). I currently have a Nikon Coolpix 16 megapixel digital camera. For my higher quality photos, I have a Canon Rebel t3i—the first DSLR I ever purchased. It now has a couple of extra lenses—my Tamron 18-270mm “walk around” lens, a Canon 10-18mm wide angle lens, and what has been dubbed “the sexy lens”, my Canon fixed 50mm shallow depth lens for a super blurry background (it’s reeeal sexy).
We see you're off to china soon? Can you share how that came about and what you'll be doing there?
Everything happens for a reason and this opportunity presented itself at a time when I needed a new adventure. In a few weeks, we will be moving to Shanghai, China for a year to teach children English. We will be leaving everything behind (if you know of anyone who needs to rent a house—ours is on the market!). I have a great job here, but sometimes I think you need to follow your passion and see what doors open—so I don’t know what I will do after the year is over, but I’m a fan of taking leaps of faith.
And of course, while we are in China, we will be traveling! As a means of compromise, we might not be jet-setting every single weekend (which would totally be my course of action!), but we will also be enjoying and exploring what Shanghai has to offer at a more relaxed pace (so my husband doesn’t decide to leave me in China). So in addition to blog posts about elephant sanctuaries in Thailand, pandas in Chengdu, and climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan, you can also look forward to posts about Chinese craft beers (do those exist?), reviews of the best massage parlors (sans any joyful finales), and visits to the Bundt for custom-made clothing.
How long have you been running your blog and what platform do you use?
I literally just started my blog as a platform for documenting our Asian adventure, but it has reignited my passion for storytelling and writing! Plus, I love itinerary planning and points/miles strategizing, so I hope my blog will be an opportunity to share some of my tips and experiences with others who wish to travel. My goal is to post every week—pending the Internet strength in China. I hope you all will follow along!
What is at the top of your bucket list?
That is a loaded question because I always have a running list of places I want to visit! If I had to narrow it to my top 5 places, it might be: Tanzania, Norway, Morocco, Greece (via sailboat), and Croatia. One thing I know for sure—I will never stop traveling.